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Our View: The Klan does not belong here

The Ku Klux Klan has no place in Lincoln County.

The KKK dropped recruitment fliers at homes around Lincolnton late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, leaving many residents stunned and angry. Several contacted the Lincoln Times-News to voice their disappointment and shock.

White supremacy and the bigotry embodied by the Klan must be flatly rejected.

But the overtures of the Klan also can’t be ignored, lest the group’s numbers grow through the sheer apathy of the people who would oppose them. The KKK has a history in Lincoln County, which culminated with the murder of five people, at an anti-Klan rally organized by the Communist Workers Party in Greensboro, at the hands of nine white supremacists, including men from Lincolnton, Maiden, Gastonia and Granite Falls. The Klan members were acquitted in a federal trial, but that incident is still a dark chapter in our region’s history.

The fact that the Klan is basically cold calling at homes in Lincolnton shows just how weak that organization has become. There’s no way to know if the fliers were part of a serious recruitment effort or if they’re the work of one misguided individual. As deplorable as the Klan’s mission might be, the seriousness of this incident shouldn’t be overstated.

The ideology that places race on a pedestal above ideas or beliefs as a value system is outdated. This kind of behavior is endemic on both the right and the left, though, of course, the Klan is far afield with its history of murder and intimidation. We should embrace intellectual pursuits and let go of meaningless distinctions that only separate and divide us, while also embracing our individual histories and cultures.

The battle against bigotry begins at home, with teaching our children that someone’s skin color or where they’re from is no reason to hate another person. It’s tough to teach empathy, but trying to gain an understanding of other people and their perspectives is one of the surest ways to stamp out the kind of ignorance that allows organizations like the Klan to flourish.

 

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